Skip to main content Accessibility help

Recognition in the Context of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Proceedings of an international workshop held at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 5 November 2018


Professor Yaël Ronen introduced the workshop as the fourth in a series of events on legal aspects of the Middle East conflict. Previous events concerned the Palestine Mandate of 1922, the 1948 refugee issue and territorial aspects of self-determination. The series is being held with the generous support of the Knapp Family Foundation and under the auspices of the International Law Forum of the Hebrew University's Faculty of Law. This workshop is also being held as part of the Shabtai Rosenne International Law Center Initiative. The workshop commemorates the work of the late Shabtai Rosenne, whose scholarship spanned a host of international law issues, but who is probably most well known for his work on the International Court of Justice (ICJ).



Hide All

1 Convention on the Rights and Duties of States (entered into force 26 December 1933) 165 UNTS 19 (Montevideo Convention).

2 Robert Jennings and Arthur Watts (eds), Oppenheim's International Law (9th edn, 1992) 127, para 38.

3 Caspersen, Nina, Unrecognized States: The Struggle for Sovereignty in the Modern International System (John Wiley & Sons 2013) 3.

4 See International Law Association (ILA), ‘Sydney Conference (2018): Recognition/Non-Recognition in International Law’, 14, (Final Report) (discussing the view of ‘recognition as a political decision within a legal context’). I was a Co-Rapporteur of the committee during the drafting of the second, third and final reports. I was also a member of the committee during the drafting of the first report.

5 (n 1).

6 Final Report (n 4) 5. The discussion in this paragraph draws, in part, from the Final Report, 6–9.

7 Final Report (n 4) 5 fn 20.

8 ibid 5–6.

9 For example, discussion in Final Report, ibid 6–7, citing, inter alia, Higgins, Rosalyn, Problems and Processes: International Law and How to Use It (Oxford University Press 1994) 40.

10 Condoleezza Rice, ‘U.S. Recognizes Kosovo as Independent State’, Statement by Secretary of State, 18 February 2008, (Statement by US Secretary of State).

11 ‘Statement by Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Kosovo’, 17 February 2008,

12 Andrey Vandenko, ‘Sergey Lavrov: Throwing Russia Off Balance is Ultimate Aim’, ITAR-TASS, 11 September 2014, Professor Borgen discusses international legal arguments and Crimea at greater length in Christopher J Borgen, ‘Law, Rhetoric, Strategy: Russia and Self-Determination Before and After Crimea’ (2015) 91 International Law Studies 216.

13 Final Report (n 4) 18. See also Stefan AG Talmon, ‘Recognition of the Libyan National Transitional Council’ (2011) 15(16) American Society of International Law Insights 1,; CarrieLyn D Guymon (ed), Digest of United States Practice in International Law (Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser 2011) 276.

14 Final Report (n 4) 18–19.

15 Professor Borgen considers these issues in Borgen, Christopher J, ‘Conflict Management and the Political Economy of Recognition’ in Williams, Winston S and Ford, Christopher M (eds), Complex Battlespaces: The Law of Armed Conflict and the Dynamics of Modern Warfare (Oxford University Press 2018) 127.

16 Professor Borgen analyses these issues in Borgen, Christopher J, ‘The Language of Law and the Practice of Politics: Great Powers and the Rhetoric of Self-Determination in the Cases of Kosovo and South Ossetia’ (2009) 10 Chicago Journal of International Law 1.

17 Montevideo Convention (n 1) art 3.

18 International Law Commission, Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts (2001) UN Doc A/56/10 (2001) (ARSIWA).

19 Declaration on Yugoslavia and on the Guidelines on the Recognition of New States, (1991) 31(6) International Legal Materials 1485, 1486.

20 ibid 1485.

21 Statement by US Secretary of State (n 10).

22 UNGA Res 67/19 (29 November 2012), Status of Palestine in the United Nations, UN Doc A/RES/67/19.

23 ICC, ‘The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, Opens a Preliminary Examination of the Situation in Palestine’, Office of the Prosecutor, Press Release, 16 January 2015,

24 Vienna Convention for Diplomatic Relations (entered into force 24 April 1964) 500 UNTS 95. ICJ, ‘The State of Palestine Institutes Proceedings against the United States of America’, 28 September 2018,

25 Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Advisory Opinion [2004] ICJ Rep 136, [118], [122] and [149].

26 UNESCO, Records of the General Conference, 36th session, Paris, 25 October–10 November 2011, vol 1, 25 October 2011, 36 C/Resolutions, 79; UNGA Res 67/19 (n 22).

27 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (entered into force 1 July 2002) 2187 UNTS 90 (Rome Statute).

28 Summary of Practice of the Secretary-General as Depositary of Multilateral Treaties, UN Doc ST/LEG/7/Rev.1 (United Nations 1999) 22.

29 Framework for Peace in the Middle East Agreed at Camp David (entered into force 14 June 1979) 1138 UNTS 39.

30 UNGA Res 67/19 (n 22).

31 UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, CERD Information Note on Inter-state Communications, 30 August 2018,

32 ICC, ‘Statement by ICC Prosecutor, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, on the Referral Submitted by Palestine’, 22 May 2018,

33 ICJ, Relocation of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem (Palestine v United States of America), Application Instituting Proceedings, 28 September 2018.

34 ARSIWA (n 18) arts 40–41.

35 Charter of the United Nations (entered into force 24 October 1945) 1 UNTS XVI (UN Charter).

36 Case concerning East Timor (Portugal v Australia), Judgment [1995] ICJ Rep 90, [31].

37 Case concerning Monetary Gold Removed from Rome in 1943 (Italy v France, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America), Judgment [1954] ICJ Rep 19, [33].

38 Pert, Alison, ‘The “Duty” of Non-Recognition in Contemporary International Law: Issues and Uncertainties’ (2012) 30 Chinese (Taiwan) Yearbook of International Law and Affairs 48, 63.

39 Wall advisory opinion (n 25) opinion of Judge Kooijmans, [44].

40 UNGA Res 2625(XXV), Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations (24 October 1970).

41 See Talmon, Stefan, ‘The Duty Not to “Recognize as Lawful” a Situation Created by the Illegal Use of Force or Other Serious Breaches of a Jus Cogens Obligation: An Obligation without Real Substance?’ in Tomuschat, Christian & Thouvenin, Jean-Marc (eds), The Fundamental Rules of the International Legal Order: Jus Cogens and Obligations Erga Omnes (Brill/Nijhoff 2005) 99.

42 ‘Recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel and Relocating the United States Embassy to Israel to Jerusalem’, Proclamation by the President of the United States of America, Proclamation 9683 of 6 December 2017, Federal Register, vol 82, no 236,

43 UNGA Res 181 (II) (29 November 1947).

44 Lauterpacht, Hersch, Recognition in International Law (Cambridge University Press 1947).

45 Republic of Somalia v Woodhouse Drake and Carey (Suisse) S.A. [1993] QB 54, 65–66, [1993] 1 All ER 371, 382 (per Hobhouse J).

46 British Arab Commercial Bank plc v National Transitional Council of the State of Libya, ex p Foreign and Commonwealth Office [2011] EWHC 2274 (Comm), [25] (per Blair J). On recognition and the English courts see Martin Cook, James Peter Hymers Mackay (Baron Mackay of Clashfern) (eds), Halsbury's Laws of England, vol 61 (5th edn, Butterworths 2018).

47 UNGA Res 67/19 (n 22).

48 Statement by US Secretary of State (n 10).

49 Kadic v Karadžić, 70 F 3d 232 (2d Cir 1995); cert denied, 518 US 1005 (1996).

50 In preparing this talk Professor Kretzmer relied, inter alia, on Tal Becker, The Claim for Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State: A Reassessment (The Washington Institute for Near East Policy 2011) 25; Diana Buttu, ‘Behind Israel's Demand for Recognition as a Jewish State’ (2014) 43(3) Journal of Palestine Studies 42; and Adalah, ‘Proposed Basic Law: Israel – The Nation State of the Jewish People (Update – July 2018)’, 2 August 2018,

51 Menachem Begin, ‘Statement to the Knesset by Prime Minister Begin upon the Presentation of his Government’, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 20 June 1977,

52 ‘Israel-PLO Recognition – Exchange of Letters between PM Rabin and Chairman Arafat’, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 9 September 1993,

53 Revital Hovel, ‘Legal Expert Gavison Objects to Israel's Proposed Nation-State Law’, Ha'aretz, 19 November 2014,; Ruth Gavison, ‘Constitutional Anchoring to Components of the State's Identity: Recommendations to the Minister of Justice’, November 2014, (in Hebrew).

54 BDS Movement, ‘What is BDS?’,

55 UNGA Res 194 (III) (11 December 1948).

56 UNGA Res 303 (IV) (9 December 1949).

57 Application of Israel for Admission to Membership in the United Nations, 6 May 1949, UN Doc A/AC.24/SR.47, 278.

58 See UNGA Res 2253(ES-V) (4 July 1967), UN Doc A/RES/2253(ES-V) (adopted by roll-call vote of 99 to 0, with 20 abstentions). See also UNGA Res 2254(ES-V) (14 July 1967), UN Doc A/RES/2254(ES-V) (adopted by roll-call vote of 99 to 0, with 18 abstentions). The US had even voted in favour of a draft Latin American Resolution that referred to the corpus separatum: see Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela: Revised Draft Resolution (4 July 1967), UN Doc A/L.523/Rev.1. (Revised Draft Resolution).

59 Statement from the State Department dated 28 June 1967 mentioned in the speech of the US Ambassador to the UN General Assembly (14 July 1967), UN Doc A/PV.1554, para 97.

60 ‘Written Answer of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs’, HC Deb, 27 November 1967, vol 755 cc13-4W (‘While Her Majesty's Government have, since 1949, recognised the de facto authority of Israel and Jordan in the parts of Jerusalem which they occupied, they, in common with many other Governments, have not recognised de jure Israel or Jordanian sovereignty over any part of the area defined in General Assembly Resolution 303 (iv) of 9th December, 1949, which called for an international status for a designated area of Jerusalem’).

61 Henry Cattan, Jerusalem (Saqi 2000) 108–10.

62 UNSC Res 298 (25 September 1971), UN Doc S/RES/298, paras 9–11 (adopted by 14 votes to none, with one abstention (Syrian Arab Republic)).

63 Revised Draft Resolution (n 58) para 4.

64 UNSC Res 476 (30 June 1980), UN Doc S/RES/476; UNSC Res 478 (30 June 1980, UN Doc S/RES/478.

65 See, eg, Resolution of the Heads of Government and Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the European Council, 13 June 1980, para 8 (Venice Declaration).

66 UNSC, Official Records of 2245th Meeting of the Security Council (20 August 1980), UN Doc S/PV.2245, para 111.

67 Resolution 8221 adopted by the Extraordinary Session of the Council of the League of Arab States at Ministerial Level, ‘The U.S. Declaration to recognize Jerusalem as Capital of Israeli Occupation State and to Move its Embassy to Jerusalem’, 9 December 2017, R. 8221–Ex. S.– 09/12/2017; Kings and Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, ‘Final Communiqué of the Extraordinary Islamic Summit Conference to Consider the Situation in the Wake of the US Administration's Recognition of the City of Al-Quds al-Sharif the so-called Capital of Israel, the Occupying Power, and the Transfer of the US Embassy to Al-Quds’, 13 December 2017, OIC/EX-CFM/2017/PAL/FC; ‘European Council Meeting Conclusions’, 14 December 2017, EUCO 19/1/17 REV 1.

68 See Victor Kattan, ‘Why US Recognition of Jerusalem Could be Contrary to International Law’ (2018) 47 Journal of Palestine Studies 72.

69 United Nations Security Council 8139th Meeting, ‘The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question’ (18 December 2017), UN Doc S/PV.8139 (UNSC 8139th Meeting).

70 ibid 6.

71 ibid 9. See also the statement made by Russia at the Security Council, ‘The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question’ (8 December 2017), UN Doc S/PV.8128.

72 UNSC 8139th Meeting (n 69) 11.

73 UNGA Res ES-10/19 (21 December 2017), UN Doc A/RES/ES-10/19 (128 states voted in favour, 35 states abstained, 9 states voted against the resolution, 21 states did not vote. The resolution was sponsored by 36 states, including Palestine. The states that voted against the Resolution were Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Togo and the United States).

74 See Donald J Trump, tweet from 2 January 2018,

75 Noa Landau and Amir Tibon, ‘Brazil Announces Opening Jerusalem “Business Office” – Instead of Promised Embassy’, Ha'aretz, 31 March 2019.

76 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (entered into force 24 April 1964) 500 UNTS 95.

77 See Annex 3 of the documents submitted by Palestine to the ICJ along with the Application Instituting Proceedings at the ICJ: US Department of State, ‘Annex 3: Note Verbale of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine addressed to the Department of State of the United States of America’, 14 May 2018, 38,

78 On 12 October 2018, the Secretary-General received from the Government of the United States of America a communication notifying its withdrawal from the Optional Protocol. The communication reads as follows: ‘… the Government of the United States of America [refers] to the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations Concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes, done at Vienna on April 18, 1961. This letter constitutes notification by the United States of America that it hereby withdraws from the aforesaid Protocol. As a consequence of this withdrawal, the United States will no longer recognize the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice reflected in that Protocol’: for the text see Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes (entered into force 24 April 1964) 500 UNTS 241.

79 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, ‘Foreign Ministry Statement regarding Palestinian-Israeli Settlement’, 6 April 2017,

80 Raphael Ahren, ‘In First Such Event, Russia Celebrates Its National Day in Jerusalem’, The Times of Israel, 15 June 2018,

81 US Department of State, The Foreign Affairs Manual – Consular Affairs, vol 7 (2010) App D, cl 1360(f).

82 Eugene Kontorovich, ‘America Recognizes One Jerusalem’, Wall Street Journal, 14 May 2018.

83 UNSC Res 2334 (23 December 2016), UN Doc S/RES/2334, para 5.

84 See Heather Nauert, State Department Press Briefing, 8 March 2018, (describing the location of the embassy as being in the former demilitarised zone, in an area ‘between the armistice lines’).

85 See European Commission Taxation and Customs Union, ‘EU-Israel Technical Arrangement – List of Non Eligible Locations’, 28 September 2018, 8, (indicating that the zip code of the US embassy, 9378322, is in ‘East Jerusalem’ and ineligible for Israeli customs treatment).

86 Wall advisory opinion (n 25) [78].

87 UNGA Res 67/19 (n 22).

88 Declaration of Independence, 14 November 1988,

89 See the statement by PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi at a UN General Assembly meeting on 27 March 2012, in which she said: ‘It should be borne in mind that General Assembly resolution 181 (II), adopted on 29 November 1947, had established Jerusalem as a corpus separatum. Thus, if the status of East Jerusalem was to be negotiated, that of West Jerusalem must be as well’, UN Doc A/AC.183/SR.340, para. 11. See also the statement by Mohammed Shatayyeh (now Prime Minister) at a UN General Assembly meeting on 13 May 2014: Press Release GA/PAL/1298, 13 May 2014,

90 See Avi Bell and Eugene Kontorovich, ‘The EU's Israel Grant Guidelines: A Legal and Policy Analysis’, Kohelet Policy Forum Research Paper, October 2013, 11,

91 ID Hendry and MC Wood, The Legal Status of Berlin (Grotius 1988) 300–01.

92 Palestine Royal Commission Report, Cmd 5479, July 1937.

93 Declaration of Independence (n 88).

94 UNGA Res 43/177 (15 December 1988), UN Doc A/RES/43/177.

95 Charter of the Organization of American States (entered into force 30 April 1948) 119 UNTS 3, art 13; this became art 12 of the Charter as amended in 1967.

96 Art 1: see (1936) 30(4) American Journal of International Law, Supplement: Official Documents, 185.

97 Opinion No 1, Conference on Yugoslavia, Arbitration Commission, 29 November 1991 (1993) 92 International Law Reports 162, 165.

98 Israel-Palestine Liberation Organization: Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, (1993) 32 International Legal Materials 1525; Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, (1997) 36 International Legal Materials 551.

99 Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria (Cameroon v Nigeria: Equatorial Guinea Intervening), Judgment [2002] ICJ Rep 303, 404–07.

100 Shaw, Malcolm N, ‘The Acquisition of Title in Nineteenth Century Africa: Some Thoughts’ in Dupuy, Pierre M and others (eds), Essays in Honour of Christian Tomuschat (Engel 2006) 1029.

101 UNGA Res 3061 (XXVIII) (2 November 1973).

102 Eleanor C McDowell, Digest of United States Practice in International Law 1976 (1977) 19–20.

103 ‘Written Answers’, House of Commons, Hansard, 23 October 1986, vol 102,

104 Declaration on Yugoslavia and on the Guidelines on the Recognition of New States (n 19).

105 Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe: Final Act, (1975) 14 International Legal Materials 1292.

106 Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe: Charter of Paris, (1991) 31 International Legal Materials 190, 193.

107 Marsto, Geoffrey, ‘United Kingdom Materials on International Law 1991’ (1992) 62 British Yearbook of International Law 535, 559–60.

108 Mullerson, Rein, ‘The Continuity and Succession of States, by Reference to the Former USSR and Yugoslavia’ (1993) 42 International and Comparative Law Quarterly 473.

109 Marsto (n 107) 560–61.

110 ‘Statement on the Resignation of Mikhail Gorbachev as President of the Soviet Union’, Announcement by President Bush, 25 December 1991, (1992) 2(4&5) Foreign Policy Bulletin 12.

111 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, ‘Statement by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the Adoption of the Declaration of Independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol’, 11 March 2014,

112 European Parliament Policy Department, ‘Turkey and the Problem of the Recognition of Cyprus’, 20 January 2005, 3,

113 Azazh Kebbeda v Italian Government 9 AD 93.

114 Marian Lloyd Nash, Digest of United States Practice in International Law 1979 (1983) 143–4.

115 UNSC Res 216 (12 November 1965), UN Doc S/RES/216.

116 Legal Consequences for States of the Continued Presence of South Africa in Namibia (South West Africa) notwithstanding Security Council Resolution 276, Advisory Opinion [1971] ICJ Rep 16, [16], [54], [56].

117 See also ECtHR, Cyprus v Turkey, App no 25781/94, 10 May 2001, paras 60–61.

118 UNSC Res 662 (9 August 1990), UN Doc S/RES/662.

119 See, eg, UNSC Res 491 (23 September 1981), UN Doc S/RES/491; UNSC Res 476 (n 64) and UNSC Res 478 (n 64).

120 Sovereignty over Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge (Malaysia/Singapore), Judgment [2008] ICJ Rep 12.

121 ‘Taba Award’ (1989) 80 International Law Reports 225.

122 ‘Eritrea-Ethiopia Delimitation Decision’ (2008) 130 International Law Reports 1, 35.

123 Restatement (Third) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States (1987), s 202.

124 Crawford, James, The Creation of States in International Law (2nd edn, Oxford University Press 2006) 211.

125 With regard to the application of the Convention to fishing entities, see Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (entered into force 11 December 2001) 2167 UNTS 3.

Recognition in the Context of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Proceedings of an international workshop held at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 5 November 2018


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed